Redemption Songs (Reflections On Lent)

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{We are excited for our guest poster, Kris Camealy, to be part of our community today. The year 2014 is the year she stepped out into a God-sized dream that seems more like a vision calling us to retreat. If you’d like to know more about it then check out: Refine: The Retreat , happening April 4-6th. (A side note: If you’ve experienced abuse in traditional church, we ask for mercy and grace as our friend shares her experiences with God, in her traditional way. Thank you.)}

For all of the years I’ve attended Ash Wednesday services, I’d never felt such an overwhelming desire to flip the ash bowls to the ground and sit beneath the altar, full-on in the black of it. My heart thumping wildly against my ribs as I made my way down the aisle.

My sin is ever before me.

It’s been 2 years since God shook and sifted the contents of my heart. In desperation I’d prayed He would make it swift. Surely, smoothing the ashes over my skin would cleanse me in a way I had not yet known.

Lent is neither quick nor clean.The confession of sins spills out of my mouth, out of my heart, at the foot of His throne. The whole 40 days of this dim Church season fill us with an ache we work tirelessly to diminish the other 325 days of the year. Lent comes as an abrupt quieting to the comfortable noise of our every day. Winn Collier says, “Lent, the prototype for all human in-betweenness teaches us to honor God’s silence”.

I don’t much like silence. My compulsive need for activity makes enduring the quiet practically painful. Observing seasons of quiet is a practice I’m learning to endure–no–embrace. God is always with us but we don’t always hear Him. He speaks in the silence, but we don’t always understand what he is saying. Our expectations, our pride, our inhibitions and discomfort with confronting the Holy all threaten to deafen our hearts to the song of Heaven.

My church strips the “Hallelujah’s” from the sanctuary through the season of Lent. For 40days, the services end abruptly, without the jubilee we’ve grown so accustomed to. Sometimes, a few of the flock forget, and you can hear the hushed hallelujah’s escaping through blushing lips. This forbidden rejoicing in the midst of the gray feels clumsy and awkward and yet I relish it. We long to sing–we long to hear His song.

Here’s what you don’t know when you’re not listening–in the silence, God is still singing. I know it, because I’ve heard it once. He sings over us and I know this too, because Zephaniah says it plain. Our failing and floundering, our excessive distraction and chatter clamor in competition with His song. It’s in the quiet, it’s in the uncomfortable, when we find ourselves sitting humbled in the ashes that we can finally hear His song–

I’ve never heard Him this way before. I want you to hear it to, redemption songs–

It’s not a summit song. It’s the tune of the descent. It’s the melody of the desert, the symphony of manna falling and rocks breaking forth with unexpected water. It’s a celebration song for the lying down. A tune for sinners–it’s the sound of chains breaking–that’s what it is. (Small)

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I’ve come slowly to the joy of repentance. I’ve learned to let my heart sing and be sung to. It took some pressing before I would bend. It took some breaking before I’d get low.

Finally, with my face pressed into the ash, I relented. Not by my own will–it took the hand of the Holy to lay my guard down. I come to the base of the altar, to the foot of the cross and welcome the washing of ash. I welcome the forgiveness of sins, I receive grace.

I tune my ears to heaven’s song and I wait the 40 days for resurrection.

Grace blooms from the darkest pit–a bulb of wonder emerging from beneath the frozen quiet of winter.

Life, from seeming death.

Resurrection from the ash–redemption songs rising from the black.

Come sit with me in the ashes. Come listen with me for His song.


kris camealyAs a sequin-wearing, homeschooling mother of four, Kris is passionate about Jesus, people and words. Her heart beats to share the hard, but glorious truth about life in Christ. She’s been known to take gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations, causing mouths to water all across Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International, a ministry for which she serves as an advocate. Kris is the author of, Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, and the follow up, Companion Workbook. You can read more from Kris at She is also on Twitter and Facebook.

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This week’s book give away goes to Ashley Larkin! Have ya’ll visited her place lately? I highly recommend it. Click here—>Draw Near.  Ashley, “Revolution” by George Barna will be in your mailbox this week. (The number was randomly picked with

Now we’re off to the next book. And Kris is also offering with this book, her new workbook that goes with it. Double, Yay!

“Though the season of Lent occurs once a calendar year, the reality is, as Christians, we live the Lenten experience again and again. Daily, we experience the grief that often comes with self-reflection and the recognition of our imperfections, the sorrow of confession, the joy of atonement and the blessings of grace through the resurrection.  God’s call on the life of the Christian is clear: “Be Holy, as I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16)  In Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, Kris walks along side the believer and offers encouragement and hope for the journey from holey (broken in sin) to wholly (surrendered unto God) to holy, (claiming the gift of grace through Christ). The road to redemption comes at a cost:  “Only when we have given up our own ambitions and desires, from that death to self, can we be used to produce much for His kingdom”.  Holey, Wholly Holy, is for anyone who longs to grow closer to Christ, and hungers to accept that grace that His resurrection offers.” ~~Amazon

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  4. Thanks! We look forward to hearing your stories.


Under Construction. We are giving the linkup a makeover. One of the changes we’re hoping to make will include seeing your faces on THIS page. In April, we will re-open it to correspond with a couple of guest writers who’ll be here. See ya then.

26 Comments on “Redemption Songs (Reflections On Lent)”

  1. Pingback: Redemption Songs [Reflections on Lent] - Kris Camealy | Kris Camealy

  2. Sweet Kris, this is so rich, with a richness which can only come from a true repentance and time spent in the presence of the Lord. Thank you for this beautiful encouragement today.

    • It’s true I’ve spent some time bent, on my face before Him. And how wildly I rebelled against Him, in my heart. He has brought me far from that place, but how far I still have to go… He is not finished with me–thank God, He is not finished with me yet.

  3. Perfectly captured how I feel this morning. I am battling everything…..flu, hot flashes, work, partial insanity and I am ready just to sit in the quiet and stop battling…..I think repenting “in dust and ashes” like the Israelites did is something we should all do from time to time, and as I do I will remember my redemption song……all these years He has never left my side! Thank you for this today.

  4. Grace blooms from the darkest pit–a bulb of wonder emerging from beneath the frozen quiet of winter. Yes…unless a seed goes in the ground and dies…new life…resurrection life…we must die daily to walk daily in His resurrected life. I started your book last night…looking forward to reading it along with some other readings I am doing. blessings and grace this lenten season!!!

  5. Just started your Holey, Wholly, Holy Lenten journey….my husband/pastor had downloaded a copy last year and read it. Now it’s my turn. Dying to self is an ongoing journey for me, and I’m eager to learn of your sweet surrender and victories.

  6. Kris, this is beautiful. Such a wonderful reminder to us all of the silence we move into during this time. I find myself falling silent and listening intently to your words. Imagining us all covered with Lenten Ash, repentant at His feet. This space here at “outside the city gate” is sacred. my deepest appreciation, jana

  7. This journey I am on started pre-Lenten season and I feel deeply the word “shaken” as you write it. My Lenten journey begins today but my journey toward redemption has been stirring deep within for a season of it’s own.

  8. Truly beautiful, Kris. So wonderful to see you here at Outside the City Gate. Loved this –> “Here’s what you don’t know when you’re not listening–in the silence, God is still singing.” Those words really hit me. I need the quiet. Seeking to be still with Him.
    Blessings to you.

  9. I’m on my way to go sit in the ashes. This a perfect preamble as I make the journey. A beautiful reflection Kris, I’m so thankful for the way of your refining that became like dominoes of grace for all of us.

  10. “Grace blooms from the darkest pit–a bulb of wonder emerging from beneath the frozen quiet of winter.” – oh, bloom! Bloom beautiful, bloom soon. Love this. Heart Hugs, Shelly ❤

  11. I like what you said about Lent never being a quick venture. It’s supposed to be slow, even painful. If it’s worth having, it’s worth the time and work it takes.

  12. Pingback: What's in Store for Us, 2014 in Review, & Link Ups - outside the city gate

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